One day last summer I was at a friend’s house. His wife was an actress on a popular television show and standing next to the barbecue, we were discussing the twists and turns of her show’s previous season.
Being a fan of the show, I decided to admit something. From the moment I saw her on the show, I had thought that her character would turn out to be bisexual. It was then that she let me in on a little secret. The show’s writers had written a scene where her character was supposed to have a threesome with a married couple, but they didn’t shoot it.
“What happened?” I asked more than a little heartbroken.
“The other actress refused to do it,” my friend told me.
“She said that if she did it, she thought that people would assume she was gay.”
There was a cloud that hung over me for a long time after that. Those from conservative parts of the country are fond of the phrase liberal-Hollywood. But people often forget that actors are just people like you and me. They suffer the same prejudices at work or while walking down the street as the rest of us. They, like everyone else, have to think about what their parents are going to think. And they can be made afraid by backlash, only on a much more twitter-intensified way.
Well, if any of you are looking for a just end to the story above, you might be glad to know that after refusing to play the scene, the actress was quickly written off the show. But that just goes to show that even in open-minded Hollywood, it still takes a fair amount of courage to portray bisexuality. So when a television network, TV show or actor is brave enough to portray a bisexual character, it can’t be taken for granted.
Luckily, attitudes like that of the reluctant actress are changing. Just four years ago there were only a handful of bisexual characters portrayed on the small screen. But during the last year, there were 22 bisexual lead characters and 22 bisexual supporting characters on 39 shows.
More than that, the portrayals of bisexuality have been as diverse as the characters themselves. There has been everyone from a black, female, trial lawyer who reconnected with a female lover after the death of her husband, to a Latino MMA fighter in a dystopian world who invites a woman into his and his boyfriend’s bed. Young, old, Asian, Jewish, the bisexual landscape has become quite diverse.
It was out of this changing tide that the “Bisexual Representation Awards” were born. Created by Alex Anders, a bestselling bisexual romance author and host of the bisexual empowerment YouTube Channel, BisexualRealTalk, the “Bisexual Representation Awards” are meant to celebrate the strides bisexuals have made while letting Hollywood know that we’re here and we’re watching.
Designed to be “The People’s Choice Awards” for bisexual characters, the nominees were nominated by the viewers of BisexualRealTalk. On May 28 the official nominees for the five categories were announced. Out of the twenty actors nominated, five are African American, two are Asian and one is proudly Jewish. Netflix, with its eclectic programming, leads the networks in nominations with five. Starz and The CW follow with four and a handful of networks follow with two and one nomination apiece.
If you want to vote for your favorite bisexual character, go to http://FluidStyleCo.com/birepawards. Included on the site are short videos explaining why each of the nominees have been nominated and why they are great representations of bisexuality.
What do you think? Do you agree with the nominations? Do you have a favorite bisexual character who didn’t get nominated? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Meanwhile, cast your vote. The only way that the world is going to change is by standing up and being heard. Voting for your favorite bisexual television character might not be chaining yourself to the White House fence, but your vote could convince an actor that they’ll be rewarded for portraying a bisexual character instead of ostracized. And wouldn’t we all win if there were more positive portrayals of bisexuals on TV?